Apply Now! Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society

Today, children and families are increasingly mobile. This is especially true for military families, immigrant families, families who must travel to make a living, homeless families and families living in poverty. Young children and their families need professional support from individuals who are interested in working with them in a society that is always "on the go." That person could be you.

Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society (ECEMS) is an online undergraduate program provided by seven universities working in collaboration. This bachelor's degree program will prepare you to work in early childhood settings with young children, especially those whose family members are highly mobile. When you complete the program you will be qualified to work in a variety of programs that offer early care and education in the community and on military installations. Some of these programs are:

  • Childcare centers and homes
  • Infant/toddler and preschool programs
  • Head Start programs
  • Before and after-school programs for children ages birth to eight.

Upon successful completion of the ECEMS bachelor's degree program, you will be able to:

  • use your understanding of young children's characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children's development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child;
  • understand how successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities;
  • use child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child;
  • use your knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for every young child;
  • identify and conduct yourself as a member of the early childhood profession, using ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice; and
  • demonstrate, through sequential practicum experiences and clinical practice the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood.


Make your application to the Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society (ECEMS) program. You will select a "home" university to which you will apply, enroll and pay tuition and this institution will award your diploma. To be admitted, you must already have completed at least 30 credits (applicable to graduation requirements) earning at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA). These hours must include a Human Lifespan Development course. Following your admission to the ECEMS program, you will complete 51 credit hours in 12 core courses and three practica through Great Plains IDEA plus any remaining credit hours required by the admitting institution for completion of a bachelor's degree. Each of your courses will be taught entirely on line by the partner institutions. The ECEMS program is designed to ensure that you will meet the professional preparation standards endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC; 2011)

You will select one of the participating universities to be your "home institution." This is the university to which you will apply for admission, You must meet the admissions and graduation requirements of your home institution. The home institution will determine the number of credit hours from previous study that may be transferred in to meet degree requirements.

Michigan State University Meagan Mitin
University of Missouri Nita Smarr
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Kelsey Sims
Texas Tech University Leslie Myatt
Iowa State University Karen Smidt
South Dakota State University Theresa Ireland

Student Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Download a copy of frequently asked questions about the Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society program.

Student Handbook

Download the Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society student handbook.

Practicum I Cooperating Teacher Handbook

Download the Early Care and Education for a Mobile Society student handbook.

Student Success Center

The online hub of resources to support your academic and student experience.

Learning Management Systems

Students use the Learning Mangaement System at the teaching university. Contact the campus coordinator for more information.

Iowa State University Blackboard
Oklahoma State University D2L
South Dakota State University D2L
Michigan State University D2L
University of Missouri Blackboard to Canvas
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Blackboard to Canvas
Texas Tech University Blackboard


The ECEMS Curriculum

Block One Courses:
These must be taken prior to enrollment in Block Two courses
  • Child Development - Birth to 3 (Infant/Toddler)
  • Child Development - 4 to 8 (Early Childhood)
  • Professional Development
  • Child Guidance and Classroom Environments
  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition
  • Practicum I can only be taken after successful completion of Block One Courses

Block Two Courses:
  • Development of Curriculum for Children Ages Birth to 3
  • Development of Curriculum for Children Ages 4 to 8
  • Understanding and Adapting for Developmental Differences
  • Assessing Young Children and their Environments to Enhance Development
  • Practicum II can only be taken after successful completion of Block One Courses, Block Two Courses, and Practicum

Additional Background Courses:
These required courses may be taken anytime during the program.
  • Administration and Supervision in Early Childhood Settings
  • Technology and Young Children
  • Diversity in the Lives of Young Children and Families
  • Working with Families

Block Three/Capstone Experience:
  • Practicum III - can only be taken after successful completion of all other courses

Degree and course titles will vary by institution. This degree program does not lead to teacher licensure.

Course Matrix

Review degree requirements and plan your courses for future semesters.

Course Information

Information regarding program courses, including descriptions, contacts, and textbooks.

Course Descriptions

View descriptions of program courses.

Program Costs

You will take courses via distance education from all the universities participating in the program. You will pay the Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for the 51 credits required for program completion, regardless of their home institution or the institution teaching the course. The common price does not apply to tuition and fees for any remaining credit hours needed to complete the bachelor's degree. The 2014-15 common price is $370 per credit hour. The 2015-16 common price is $380 per credit hour. You may apply for financial aid through your home institution.

For Information

Contact the Great Plains IDEA office for information ( or or the Campus Coordiantor at any of the participating institutions.